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SAM RICHARDS Printer Friendly Page

Penn State's Ward Churchill Twin
By Thomas Joscelyn
March 28, 2005

 


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  • Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Penn State University
  • Co-Director of Race Relations Project
  • “I never seriously studied race or ethnicity … in college.”
  • “I’m open about bringing my ideology into this classroom.”



Dr. Sam Richards received his Ph.D. in “political sociology and development with an emphasis on Latin America and Africa” from Rutgers University in 1985. Liberation theology, which is a Christianized form of Marxism, was the topic of both Richards’ Master’s thesis and his doctoral dissertation. Today he is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Penn State University. According to Penn State’s The Collegian, “[Richards] worries about the future, because he believes the world is on an unstoppable path toward totalitarianism.”

On his academic website, Dr. Richards concedes that “I never seriously studied race or ethnicity while in college, and I never took an undergraduate or graduate course in the topic.” Yet he is now the co-director of the Race Relations Project at Penn State and teaches Sociology 119, which is “Race and Ethnic Relations.” In Richards’ courses, which include topics such as “Racial Inequality,” “Genocide and the Holocaust,” “International Racism and Foreign Policy,” and “Global Inequality,” students learn that the “real” story of the United States is not just the “official” one of “bravery and hardship, of sharing and community,” but more importantly the story of “death and carnage, or murder and theft.”

According to Dr. Richards, a mendacious ruling class controls America’s masses and directs the nation towards these malign ends. He writes: “Dominating groups control the means of ideological persuasion (e.g., mass media, culture mores, ethical principles),” and “[if] the dominant group/class can convince the masses to believe in some truth that benefits that dominant group, then the masses are less likely to object to the rule of that group.”

When an interviewer questioned Dr. Richards about the evident lack of ideological balance in his lectures on foreign policy, he conceded that he makes no attempt to provide one. “My take on matters related to foreign policy,” he explained, “was always to show a different side than the side that the American people are taught to believe since they start breathing.”

Though professing to be concerned with oppression and injustice, Dr. Richards spends no class time on the despotisms that America opposes, like the Castro regime in Cuba. Instead he focuses on America’s alleged oppression of Marxist dictatorships like the one in Nicaragua during the 1980s. After labeling U.S. actions in Nicaragua as “terrorist,” he asks, “What does this example tell us about how we approach terrorism?”

In his course “Genocide and Holocaust,” Dr. Richards similarly ignores communist genocides and instead offers his students several alleged U.S. examples. His students learn that: “the killing of the ‘native’ peoples in the Americas was genocide”; the U.S. military was directly or indirectly responsible for killing more than a million Vietnamese during the Vietnam War; and the killing of the East Timorese people by Indonesia from 1975 to the present has occurred with “direct assistance from the U.S. taxpayers.”

Among Dr. Richards’ in-class teaching materials are four pictures of President Bush juxtaposed with pictures of monkeys, under the heading, “some evolutionary mysteries are not quite so clear.”

Richards’ class lessons are reinforced with “out-of-class” assignments that include the viewing of leftwing propaganda films such as The Oil Factor, from which students learn that the “war in Afghanistan has turned into a bloody quagmire,” and that the War on Terror is really all about controlling Iraqi and Central Asian oil reserves. Another film that Richards screens, Occupation 101, condemns the alleged horrors of Israel’s “occupation” of Palestinian territories; it features interviews with such leftist luminaries as Noam Chomsky and Ramsey Clark. Richards also shows his students a hagiographic documentary called You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train: Life and Times of Howard Zinn -- a Marxist historian who, like Chomsky and Clark, has written that America is the world’s greatest terrorist state.

Dr. Richards’ lecture notes for the first class of each semester inform students that, “It is not possible to keep our ideologies out of the classroom or any other place where ideas are shared. SO I’M OPEN ABOUT BRINGING MY IDEOLOGY INTO THIS CLASSROOM BECAUSE I SEE THAT ALL EDUCATIONAL SYSTEMS ARE IDEOLOGICAL TO THE CORE.” [emphasis in original]

 

 

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